Friday, October 11, 2013
Pica is a medical disorder characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive (e.g., metal, clay, coal, sand, dirt, soil, feces, chalk, pens and pencils, paper, batteries, spoons, toothbrushes, soap, mucus, latex gloves, ash, gum, lip balm, tacks and other office supplies, etc.) For these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate. The name of the condition originates from the Latin word for magpie, a bird that is reputed to eat almost anything. Pica is seen in all ages, particularly in pregnant women, small children, and those with developmental disabilities.